urbex photography
St. Hilda's CE Mission

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On top of a hill, overlooking a huge reservoir, this relic of an ecclesiastical past stands battered by the elements. Half of one side of the iron exterior has fallen down bringing inside the light from the sweeping hills. 

The red carpet throughout, covers a brittle floor which is missing in some places and ready to snap in other's. Navigating myself around this small chapel was a skill in itself, sometimes guessing where the floor may still be present and strong enough for myself and my camera gear. 

Old wooden pews remain in place as does the pulpit and altar; surviving the ravages of time. The nearby sheep have added texture to the red carpet and there are enough personal / religious artefacts to give that human element. Windows stained with dirt and ivy give a weathered look now the building's former use has run its course. 

Three hours were spent inside, the details were in abundance so needed documenting. How long this will remain in place I don't know. As of September 2018, a notice was served by the Parochial church to purchase the land and premises and the permanent endowment restriction lifted so any monies raised, can be used in the Parish of St. James for other purposes. 

History:

St. Hilda's Mission Church was founded in 1931 and closed in 1998.

The prominent 'Iron Church' of St Hilda's Mission Church was previously at Featherstall, Littleborough serving St Mary's RC Parish. The building which was made of metal sheets - hence it's name - was sold to Hollingworth through the Mother church at Milnrow, through the the Hill Charity, and was re-erected with structural modifications in 1931.

 

Image courtesy of the Rochdale Observer ; October 17, 1931.

In October 1931 it had been dedicated by Archdeacon Sale. It was divided as a meeting room and church with much of the work being done by a small yet earnest group of local people. The St Hilda patronage was suggested by Cannon Raines for the previous school chapel as he was born at Whitby, where his grandfather was vicar of St Hilda's church on the Hill; and so it was considered to be an appropriate name for the church on the hill at Hollinworth.

The cost of the church to St Mary's RC church was £6000. In June 1930 the Old Iron church of St Mary's was purchased by the Mission of St. Hilda's (CofE) and re-erected at Hollingworth Fold. The main family there was headed by John Hall and the revenue from his estate had been used to provide schools at Ogden and Hollingworth. This revenue was now used to buy the old Catholic church. In 1975 it was divided into two sections, a church and a meeting place being cared for by the minister of Milnrow Parish Church.

In January 1986, Mr C. Ogden retired as Organist from the mission church and after 46 years as choir master.

More than 60 years old and some faults were found in an inspection in the early 2000's and the monthly services were temporarily suspended. Rev. Usher had stated that it was no longer classed as a parish church as such, as services were only held there from time to time.

 

It finally closed to the public in 1998 due to ongoing structural problems.